Lecture 1. Early Chalukya Monuments and the Development of Southern Hindu Temple Architecture

created by:

Cathleen Cummings

from the module:

Patronage of Hindu Temples

Lecture Abstract: This lecture is concerned with the development of Hindu temple architecture in South India and the Deccan region of southern India, from the period of initial experimentation with rock-cut temples in the early sixth century through to the emergence of a mature and fully articulated Deccani temple style that its established by the late eighth to ninth centuries. It begins by explaining the basic forms and components of the typical Hindu temple and their function, then explains that the different regions of India developed these forms and components in their own ways to develop distinct regional traditions. It then examines in detail the development of the “Dravida” (“southern”) tradition of Hindu temple architecture in South India and the Deccan region with an examination of three specific monuments: the Rajasimheshvara Temple, Kanchipuram, the Virupasha Temple, Pattakadal, and the Kailashanatha Temple at Ellora. Central to this lecture is an explanation of the critical position of temple building during the Early Chalukya dynasty within the developmental trajectory of Southern (Drāviḍa) Hindu temple architecture. Monuments of the Early Chalukya dynasty (c. 545-757) crucially link early temples of the Pallava dynasty of Tamil Nadu (c. 610-900) and later monuments of the Rashtrakuta dynasty of Maharashtra (c. 753-982). Architecture of the Early Chalukyas complements and extends the Drāviḍa or Southern architectural style begun under by the Pallavas. Significantly, the expansive territories ruled by Early Chalukya kings, and the temples erected across those territories, represent one of the earliest—perhaps the earliest—interface zones between the nascent Southern and Northern (Nagara) styles of temple architecture that began to develop around the year 500. In looking at the history of Early Chalukya temple building we see forms coeval with early Pallava examples of the emerging Drāviḍa temple style (early phase); experimentation with and adaptation of Nagara architecture (mid phase); and full maturity of the Deccani Drāviḍa style (late phase) that sets the stage for future developments in temple architecture in the Deccan.

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